I made a reservation, but today the host called me and is claiming that my reservation is preventing other guests from booking those dates. The host wants me to accept an alteration request that reduces my reservation to 1 day (at a higher price), but has assured me that I will still get my full reservation so long as I pay the rest off-site using e-transfer or cash (and will lower the price for me). During the phone call I said I was okay with it, because I was caught off guard. After the call I brushed up on Airbnb policies, and it clearly states I risk my account (and their account) being closed if I proceed. I could also be getting scammed. I messaged (through Airbnb app) the seller to inform them I couldn't accept the change for these reasons, and then I declined the alteration request on Airbnb. Now I am worried I will show up, and not have a place to stay, or worse have a host that is mad at me for costing them money (since they can't book other guests). I don't know much about Airbnb. This is my first time using it! The host hasn't messaged me back since I declined the alternation. What am I supposed to do to? I cannot cancel my reservation, because I won't be refunded for any of my stay. What is the proper way to proceed in this scenario? Do I continue as planned, and hope the host holds up my original reservation? I was really hoping to have a stress-free trip :(
The person wants you to pay through some sort of "e-transfer of cash". Presumably, in advance. This is the red hot glowing flag of scammery.
If the person had said "let me send you a PayPal invoice", okay maybe - since PayPal has Buyer Protection. But this person wants you to pay using their preferred method which of course will be irreversible. This is outrageous! No legit hoster would have a problem with a scheme with buyer recourse e.g. Visa-Mastercard.
Stacked on top of this is the absurd claim that AirBnB (literally, Air Bed & Breakfast) would only support one room per account/venue. Real Bed & Breakfasts have between 3 and 20 rooms typically, so that would mean AirBnB couldn't handle its namesake!
The desire to go off-airBnB for most of the stay is, in itself, not that alarming. Regular hosts want to do this too. But combined with these other things, it becomes another red flag.
There's a possibility that this is a hacked account. Perhaps the account had gone inactive (an active host would immediately notice hacking) and the true account has only one unit to rent. That would explain why the scammer claimed that; to open up the other dates to create more slots to scam people. Business must be good.
If you wanted to toy with the person, you would say "be happy to pay you actual cash in-person at the venue". That will get you a clever excuse! Then you could offer to take a PayPal invoice. It's unlikely the scammers would agree, but if they did, thet'd flag it as a "gift" (no recourse) rather than a "purchase of goods and services" (recourse) and hope you did not notice.